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A Middle East tour by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has confirmed to democracy activists in the Middle East what they had long suspected–the United States has lost interest in democracy for Arabs. By promising to protect friendly rulers in the region against what many analysts see as exaggerated external threats, Rice sent a message that Washington will not ask many questions about how they suppress more real internal threats, they said.
I wrote about the administration’s failed “democracy” initiative in the Middle East last March. I focused on Egypt, where the U.S. supports the Mubarak regime–which has ruled for decades without ever holding fair elections and routinely employs violence against its opponents–and ostracizes the Muslim Brotherhood–which renounced violence decades ago, espouses democracy, and calls for anti-corruption initiatives and political reform. In fact, the Bush administration started backing off of its pro-democracy rhetoric after the Brotherhood scored big gains in parliamentary elections, despite massive cheating by the Egyptian government.
Since I was in Egypt last fall, the Mubarak regime has launched a massive crackdown on the Brotherhood. Meanwhile, parliament (where the ruling party has a rubber stamp majority) passed a series of amendment that “further solidified the legal underpinnings of authoritarianism in Egypt,” according to a recent article in Middle East Report Online by Samer Shehata and Joshua Stacher.
There’s little coverage of Egypt (far more pivotal to Middle Eastern politics than Iraq over the long run) in the American media. For those wanting to know what’s happening there, check out the story by Shehata and Stacher.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”